1999 News Story

New Supreme Economic Council announced

It was announced today that Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz had

issued a Royal Decree establishing the Kingdom's first Supreme Economic Council (SEC). The

eleven-member Council will be chaired by Crown Prince Abdullah, Deputy Prime Minister and

Commander of the National Guard. Its Deputy Chairman will be Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz,

Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector-General. The

other nine members will be the Chairman of the General Committee of the Council of

Ministers, the Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Fund, the Ministers of Finance and

National Economy, Planning, Labor and Social Affairs, Petroleum and Mineral Resources, and

Commerce, and two ministers of state.

The statement said that the formation of SEC arises from the importance of economic affairs

in the priorities of countries worldwide, and their direct influence on the interests of

the citizens. In today's changing economic world there is a need for a number of sectors to

be involved in decision-making for economic policy. The Kingdom's economic policy is based

on comprehensive social welfare; and on the concepts of free enterprise and an open market

for investment, production, and services, in order to secure the goals for this welfare,

· providing jobs and assuring optimum utilization of manpower;
· controlling public debt to be within secure and reasonable limits;
· distributing national income fairly and offering opportunities for investment and for labor;
· diversifying the economic base and extending the sources of public revenue;
· developing channels and frameworks for safe investment and increasing investment of domestic capital and savings in the nation's economy;
· increasing the income of the state and linking it with the movement and growth of the national economy;
· expanding the private sector's contribution to the national economy and to the government's program for privatization; and

· enhancing the ability of the national economy to cope efficiently with global economic changes.
The statement specified that SEC would take over the responsibilities of the Council of

Ministers in terms of economic issues, and practice its authority and make decisions in

this regard. A Consultative Commission will also be formed, comprised of a group of ten

non-governmental experts who will provide the Chairman of HEC with recommendations on the

issues he assigns them to study. A royal decree will appoint the members of this

The Supreme Economic Council's main concern will be devising economic policy and drafting

appropriate alternatives, coordinating among government bodies whose work is directly

connected to the national economy, following up the implementation of economic policy, and

reporting regularly to the cabinet. It will also study:
· the general framework of the development plans and other reports pertaining to their implementation;
· financial policies and the bases for preparing budget drafts and priorities for expenditure, for the State Budget and those of other bodies;
· commercial policies at domestic and international levels, and the bases regulating the labor and capital markets, to protect the interests of consumers and create the proper atmosphere for competition and investment;
· industrial and agricultural policies, and other similar basic economics-related reports coming to and from the cabinet either for study or decision-making, particularly with regard to price levels, fees, taxes, tariffs, government revenues, investments, expenditure, and the general situation of the government debt, loans, privileges, the privatization process, final accounts of the government and other non-government bodies,

and regulations and systems of economic issues and affairs;

· economic and commercial agreements and laws on protection of the environment;
· relevant economic studies prepared for it by consultative committees, including a periodical report on the performance of the national economy;
· and any other duties assigned to it.
The Supreme Economic Council will hold its meetings with a quorum of its majority including the chairman or deputy chairman, and issue its decisions with a majority of the members attending the meeting. A five-member permanent board will be formed from within its members, comprised of Minister of State and Cabinet Member Dr. Abdulaziz Bin Abdullah Al-Khuweiter as chairman, and as members, Minister of State and Cabinet Member Dr. Muhammad Bin Abdulaziz Al Ash-sheikh, together with the Ministers of Finance and National Economy, Planning, and Commerce. There will be a secretariat chaired by a Secretary-General, whose headquarters will be at the secretariat of the Council of Ministers. In addition to the steering committee to set up the Supreme Economic Council, ad hoc committees may be formed.